A clock displaying 365 days, as well as hours and minutes, designed by one of the most famous Brazilians of all time, is due to be unveiled at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, on Copacabana beach in the city of Rio de Janeiro. It will mark the time remaining to the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, when FIFA’s flagship event returns to football’s spiritual home after an absence of 64 years. The special guest at the ceremony to mark the start of the one-year countdown to the opening game of Brazil 2014 will be the player many regard as the greatest of all time: three-time winner of the Trophy, Pele.
The features of the countdown clock manufactured by Hublot, the official timekeeper for Brazil 2014, were designed by another Brazilian master and illustrious resident of Copacabana, the architect Oscar Niemeyer, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 104. In addition to Pele, Wednesday's event will be attended by FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke; the CEO of Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the competition, Ricardo Trade; the President of Hublot, Jean-Claude Biver; the Minister for Sport, Aldo Rebelo; the Vice-Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezao; and the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who is unable to attend the unveiling of the clock in Copacabana, has sent a message for this special occasion, which falls three days prior to of the opening game of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 between Brazil and Japan in Brasilia.
“I'm extremely pleased, as the one-year mark is always an important date. Brazil is a land of continental proportions with a population of 200 million and the sixth biggest economy in the world. The country is not only a footballing powerhouse, but an economic one too. I’m sure that one of the legacies of this FIFA World Cup will be that of helping Brazil become a leader in terms of social and cultural values. The FIFA World Cup being held in such a multi-cultural society is bound to bring people together. There are no differences in football; social classes don't exist,” said the FIFA President, who has been impressed by the magnificent stadiums built to host the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.
“I've seen photos of the stadiums and I really must congratulate the architects entrusted with the design of the same. They represent the jewel in the crown of the respective cities. I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to go to Brazil 2013 and visit all these cities."
As far as the Chairman of the LOC, Jose Maria Marin, is concerned, the unveiling of the countdown clock reinforces the feeling that the tournament is almost upon us. "This is another memorable milestone in our preparations for Brazil 2014. It´s a reminder that the big event is just round the corner. In 12 months´ time we’ll be staging a football festival involving teams from 32 countries and fans from the four corners of the globe, right here in Brazil."
Tickets on sale in August
Several major events will take place in the 12 months before the ball starts rolling. Tickets for the event will go on sale on 20 August, while the draw for the group stages of Brazil 2014 is scheduled for 6 December in Costa do Sauipe, in the state of Bahia. Japan were the first team to join the hosts on the list of the 32 participants when they secured first place in Group B of the Asian qualifiers. The last qualifying matches for Brazil 2014 will be played in November of this year.
Brazil 2014 will involve 12 host cities across the five regions of Brazil, featuring modern stadiums which have been built or refurbished for the tournament: Belo Horizonte (Estadio Mineirao), Brasilia (Estadio Nacional), Cuiaba (Arena Pantanal), Curitiba (Arena da Baixada), Fortaleza (Estadio Castelao), Manaus (Arena Amazonia), Natal (Estadio das Dunas), Porto Alegre (Estadio Beira-Rio), Recife (Arena Pernambuco), Rio de Janeiro (Estadio do Maracana), Salvador (Arena Fonte Nova) and Sao Paulo (Arena de Sao Paulo).